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Burden sharing in a greenhouse: egalitarianism and sovereignty reconciled


  • Christoph Bohringer
  • Heinz Welsch


The allocation of emission entitlements across countries is the single most controversial issue in international climate policy. Extreme positions within the policy debate range from entitlements based on current emission patterns (sovereignty) to entitlements based on equal-per-capita allocations (egalitarianism). This paper shows that gradual convergence from sovereignty towards egalitarianism could provide a pragmatic solution to the equity debate: When combined with international emissions trading, the convergence approach stands out for offering the developing countries substantial incentives for participation in the international greenhouse gas abatement effort without imposing excessive burdens on the industrialized countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Bohringer & Heinz Welsch, 2006. "Burden sharing in a greenhouse: egalitarianism and sovereignty reconciled," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 981-996.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:9:p:981-996
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500399453

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    9. Gollier, Christian & Jullien, Bruno & Treich, Nicolas, 2000. "Scientific progress and irreversibility: an economic interpretation of the 'Precautionary Principle'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 229-253, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Cantore & Emilio Padilla, 2007. "Equity and CO2 Emissions Distribution in Climate Change Integrated Assessment," Working Papers wpdea0705, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    2. Andries Hof & Michel Elzen & Detlef Vuuren, 2010. "Including adaptation costs and climate change damages in evaluating post-2012 burden-sharing regimes," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 19-40, January.
    3. Zhou, P. & Wang, M., 2016. "Carbon dioxide emissions allocation: A review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 47-59.
    4. Roman Lokhov & Heinz Welsch, 2008. "Emissions trading between Russia and the European Union: a CGE analysis of potentials and impacts," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 9(1), pages 1-23, March.
    5. Andries Hof & Michel Elzen & Detlef Vuuren, 2009. "Environmental effectiveness and economic consequences of fragmented versus universal regimes: what can we learn from model studies?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 39-62, February.
    6. Cantore, Nicola & Padilla, Emilio, 2010. "Equality and CO2 emissions distribution in climate change integrated assessment modelling," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 298-313.
    7. Christoph Böhringer & Nicholas Rivers & Thomas Rutherford & Randall Wigle, 2015. "Sharing the burden for climate change mitigation in the Canadian federation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1350-1380, November.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1104-:d:102558 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Patrick Matschoss & Heinz Welsch, 2006. "International Emissions Trading and Induced Carbon-Saving Technological Change: Effects of Restricting the Trade in Carbon Rights," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 33(2), pages 169-198, February.
    10. van Ruijven, Bas J. & Weitzel, Matthias & den Elzen, Michel G.J. & Hof, Andries F. & van Vuuren, Detlef P. & Peterson, Sonja & Narita, Daiju, 2012. "Emission allowances and mitigation costs of China and India resulting from different effort-sharing approaches," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 116-134.

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